Installing VirtualBox for OpenStack development

Download VirtualBox for your operating system

VirtualBox is an open source virtualization product that will allow you to create virtual machines on a computer using Linux, Mac OS X or Windows. While the current version is 5.x, older versions will also work if you are already using this software.

NOTE: There are different products that can provide virtualization on your computer. As a first time user with virtualization, VirtualBox is a common open source product used by developers.

Install VirtualBox on your system

Just follow the default prompts.

Recommended VirtualBox Networking

To provide for a better experience for installing and accessing devstack or RDO the following VirtualBox configuration setup is recommended to create a host-only adapter network on your host machine.

  • Start VirtualBox
  • Open Preferences (e.g. File|Preferences)
  • Select Network
  • Select Host-only Networks
  • Add Network (accept all defaults)

This additional step will create a network configuration in VirtualBox that is called vboxnet0. This will define a network in the 192.168.56.X range, and will configure a DHCP server that will issue IP addresses starting at This will enable you to more easily access your VMs from your host computer as discussed in VirtualBox networking for beginners. ‎

Installing Openstack with devstack, a first-time guide

This guide will enable the reader to install a minimal OpenStack cloud using devstack for the first time.

This guide will assume you have never installed virtualization software, used or configured devstack or even observed a running OpenStack cloud. This guide does assume that you can perform some basic software development instructions as documented.

This guide is targeted towards the software developer that may want to review the Python code and contribute to the open source project or the system architect that wants to evaluate some of the features of OpenStack. If you are an end user should try a public cloud that runs OpenStack such as OVH, Rackspace or other public cloud providers listed in the OpenStack Marketplace).

There are some hardware requirements and various copy/paste command line instructions on a Linux virtual machine. While it would be possible to publish a completed virtual machine you could download and click to run, understanding the underpinnings of the most basic installation and configuration of devstack will provide an appreciation of the complexity of the product and the software development capabilities.

At the end of this process you will have a running OpenStack cloud on your computer that is running on a Linux virtual machine. You will be able to access this with your browser and be able to perform basic cloud infrastructure tasks, such as creating a compute instance. This guide is not intended to talk about the benefits or usages of a cloud.

You will need a computer running Mac OS X, Windows, Linux (see supported list) or Solaris with at least 4GB of RAM and 10GB of available disk drive space in order to complete the following steps.

  1. Installing VirtualBox
  2. Setting up an Ubuntu virtual machine using VirtualBox
  3. ‎Downloading and installing devstack
  4. Using your OpenStack devstack cloud
NOTE: These steps will provide one means of installing devstack with one type of virtualization software on a specific Linux operating system. This is only meant as a first-time users guide, and some pre-defined decisions have been made. There are multiple ways to implement and use devstack with different software and operating systems.

What’s next?

Without knowing the purpose of following this first-time guide what’s next depends on your. As a software developer you may be interested in looking OpenStack Bugs or contributing to new features of one of the many projects. As an architect you may want to understand a more complex configuration setup as you plan to determine what may be necessary to utilize a cloud infrastructure in your organization. This guide is only intended as the first introduction and hopefully has provided the intended result for the reader to consider what OpenStack can possibly provide.

More references

We will assume you have never installed virtualization software on your computer and have not installed devstack, or even seen an OpenStack interface. The devstack documentation does not make this assumption and so these more generic instructions are useful to the uninitiated. While some (including this author) feel these are instructions worthy of the official devstack documentation, others (with valid reasons) do not and hence the democracy of a large distributed open source project. For more information see review #290854. This guide joins the many others searchable by Internet search engines.

devstack, your personal OpenStack Cloud

As a software developer or system architect that is interested in looking at the workings of OpenStack, devstack is one of several different ways to start a personal cloud using the current OpenStack code base.

In it’s most basic form, you can run devstack in a virtual machine and be able to manage your personal cloud via the Horizon web interface (known as the Dashboard), or via several CLI APIs such as the OpenStack client (OSC). You can use this to launch compute services, manage boot images and disk volumes, define networking and configure administrative users, projects and roles.

The benefit of devstack is for the developer and deployer. You can actually see the running cloud software, interact and engage with individual services. devstack is a valuable tool to debug and bugfix services. devstack is used by the OpenStack CI/CD system for testing so it is robust enough to evaluate the core projects and many of the available projects that can be configured to be installed with devstack. You can also configure to use trunk (i.e. master) code, or specific branches or tags for individual services. The CI system for example will install the trunk of services, and the specific branch of a new feature or bug fix for one given project in order to perform user and functional testing.

devstack also enables more complex configuration setups. You can setup devstack with LXC containers, you can run a multi-node setup, you can run with Neutron networking. While devstack installs a small subset of projects including keystone, nova, cinder, glance and horizon, you can use devstack to run other OpenStack projects such as Manila, Trove, Magnum, Sahara, Solum and Heat.

The benefit of devstack is for evaluation of capabilities. devstack is not a product to use to determine a path for production deployment of OpenStack. This process includes many more complex considerations of determining why you want to implement an infrastructure for demand for your organization, and considerations of the most basic technical needs such as uptime and SLA requirements, high availability, monitoring and alerting, security management and upgrade paths of your software.

If you are ready to see what OpenStack could provide and want to run a local cloud, you can start with installing Openstack with devstack, a first-time guide.

Additional References

What is OpenStack?

OpenStack is a cloud computing software product that is the leading open source platform for creating cloud infrastructure. Used by hundreds of companies to run public, private and hybrid clouds, OpenStack is the second most popular open source project after the Linux Kernel.

OpenStack is a product of many different projects (currently over 50), written primarily in Python and is in 2016 over 4 million lines of code.

OpenStack Distributions

There are numerous distributions of OpenStack from leading vendors such as Red Hat, IBM, Canonical, Cisco, SUSE, Oracle and VMware to name a few. Each vendor provide a means of installing and managing an OpenStack cloud and integrates the cloud with a large number of hardware and software products and appliances. Regardless of your preferred host operating system or deployment methodology with ansible, puppet or chef, there is an project or provider to suit your situation.

Evaluating OpenStack

For the software developer or system architect there are several ways to evaluate the basic features of OpenStack. Free online services such as Mirantis Express and TryStack or production clouds at Rackspace and OVH offer you an infrastructure to handle compute, storage, networking and orchestration features and you can engage with your personal cloud via web and CLI interfaces.

If however you want to delve behind the UI and API’s to see OpenStack in operation there are simple VM based means using devstack, RDO or Ubuntu OpenStack that can operate a running OpenStack on single VM or multiple VMs. You can follow the OpenStack documentation installation guides which cover openSUSE 13.2, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, CentOS 7 and Ubuntu 14.04 (LTS) to install OpenStack on a number of physical hardware devices (a minimal configuration is three servers).

These options will introduce you to what *may* be possible with OpenStack personally. This is however the very tip of a very large iceberg. Considering a cloud infrastructure for your organization is a much more complex set of decisions about the impact, usefulness and cost-effectiveness for your organisation.


Retiring an OpenStack project

As part of migrating Oslo Incubator code to graduated libraries I have come across several inactive OpenStack projects. (An inactivate project does not mean the project should be retired or removed). However in my case when consulting the mailing list, it was confirmed that the kite project met the criteria to proceed.

There are good procedures to Retiring a project in the Infra manual. In summary these steps are:

  • Inform the developer community via the mailing list of the intention to retire the project, confirming there are no unaware interested parties.
  • Submit an openstack-infra/project-config change to remove the zuul gate jobs that are run when reviews are submitted. This is needed as the subsequent review to remove code will fail if these checks are enabled..
  • Submit a project review that removes all code, and updates the README with a standard message “This project is no longer maintained. …” See Infra manual for full details. This change will have a Depends-On: for your project-config review. If this review is not yet merged, you should add a Needed-By: reference accordingly.
  • Following the approved review to remove the code from HEAD, a subsequent review to openstack-infra/project-config is needed to remove other infrastructure usage of the project and mark the project as read only.
  • Finally, a request to openstack/governance is made to propose removal of the repository from the governance.

As with good version control, the resulting code for the project is not actually removed.
As per the commit comment you simply git checkout HEAD^1 to access the project in question.